It's unclear just why the Trump administration is so absolutely insistent that refugees with the well-established right to seek asylum in this nation are an existential danger, but—oh, wait, it's not unclear at all. They're rancid racists who have been stoking anti-immigrant, anti-refugee fear as an existential danger to this country solely as cheap electoral theater; now we are learning that ploy will include up to 14,000 active-duty U.S. military troops, many of them armed, to be deployed to the border to intercept a caravan of unarmed men, women, and children.
These troops, which "are in fact deploying with weapons" will join up to 2,000 National Guards already at the border for a combined force of about 7,200—or about the same amount of U.S. soldiers involved in the battle against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria.
The remaining forces will be on standby. In the meantime, the "caravan" causing Donald Trump and his most robust supporters to soil themselves in fear is still roughly 1,000 miles away and continues to shrink in size; it is unclear whether a substantial portion of those refugees will reach the United States at all.
An armed military response to asylum-seekers is an outrageously fascist notion; it is also a staggering misuse of government resources from an administration that continues to drift from incompetence to overt corruption. It is going to cost a small fortune to deploy the same number of troops to intercept a single group of refugees as the United States currently has stationed in Iraq and Syria; this will be paid for not by Donald Trump and his raving band of racist fearmongers, but by taxpayers.
The operation to meet refugees with U.S. soldiers will be called Operation Faithful Patriot, and commanders have "authorized U.S. troops heading to the border to carry live ammunition." This would appear to be at odds with previous Pentagon and administration assurances that military troops would be used in support roles; neither building temporary fencing nor monitoring refugees from helicopters requires live ammunition, and no previous "caravan" of migrants has required a militarized response of this nature.
Indeed, the deployment appears to have no concrete purpose other than as part of the Trump propaganda campaign, a television-broadcast militaristic playtime effort aimed directly at ratcheting up pants-wetting immigrant panic among the many racist members of his base in the last days before a midterm election. It is military deployment as campaign event; that is what Trump's team and allies have settled on.
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